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Tag: Nas (1-10 of 18)

Essence Festival wrap-up: Here's what you missed

Didn’t make it down to New Orleans for the 20th annual Essence Festival? (Essence, like EW, is a Time Inc. publication.) The bad news: You missed out on a Prince concert that may never make it online—at least, not in an officially sanctioned sort of way. The good news: You can catch a few highlights of the fest in the videos below.

We’ll begin backstage with first night headliner Nas:

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Nas defends Tarantino's use of n-word in 'Django Unchained'

A lot of people are concerned by the n-wordpalooza in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, by Nas isn’t one of them.

In an interview with MTV, the Life Is Good rapper said that not only did he see and enjoy QT’s latest work, but that he wasn’t fazed at all by the movie’s rampant use of the racial epithet .

“I didn’t see what the big fuss was about,” said Nas. “A movie about slavery and you don’t hear the n-word? Doesn’t make any sense.”

He went on to extol Tarantino’s virtues as a writer-director who doesn’t shy away from the nasty truthiness. “He’s one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation, and we don’t go [to his movies] to see anything less than rawness,” he said. “He’s an artist, and artists have to express themselves.”

And Nas knows a thing or two about artistic expression becoming fodder for controversy: Back in 2007, the veteran rapper made headlines when he titled his ninth album N—–. After much ado, the Def Jam release was ultimately renamed Untitled.

Check out the clip of Nas’ comments to MTV in the video below, and let us know your take on the matter in the comments:

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Nas recovering after being hospitalized for vertigo

Nas fans who turned on Live! With Kelly and Michael last week were disappointed to find out that the Life Is Good rapper was absent. But the man has a good reason: vertigo.

Last Friday, Nasir Jones was hospitalized in New York for severe vertigo. The 39-year-old rapper became ill on a flight to New York and was taken directly to the hospital from the airplane, Live! hosts Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan announced on their program.

Nas is now in recovery, and was able to send out the following tweet:

“Peace y’all. I’m out of the ER & doin alright. I’m on bed rest for a few. Apologies to everyone @ Live w/ Kelly & Michael. I’ll make it up.”

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Nas and Lauryn Hill announce 'Life Is Good/Black Rage' team-up tour

Good news, fans of Nastradamus and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: The biggest tour of 1999 has finally arrived!

In all seriousness, October 6 marks the kick-off of an historic trek. The “Life Is Good/Black Rage” tour features co-headliners Nas (he of the recently-released tenth solo album Life is Good) and Lauryn Hill (she of the forthcoming single “Black Rage,” multiple horror stories in the new Wyclef memoir, and quite a big tax bill).

Nas kicks the tour off by himself but will be joined by Hill for 10 shows, starting with a stop in Dallas on October 29. The whole thing ends on December 31 with a Nas solo show on New Year’s Even at New York’s legendary Radio City Music Hall.

Of course, perhaps the bigger story here is the fact that Hill is promising a new single. READ FULL STORY

Kelis' wedding dress makes second cameo in Nas' 'Bye Baby' music video

Nas must really love his ex-wife Kelis’ wedding dress. In addition to featuring a piece of the celery-green gown on the cover of his latest album Life Is Good, he gives it a co-starring role his new video for “Bye Baby.”

The track chronicles the demise of his relationship with the R&B star, which Nas blames on her inability to trust him. Despite some angry words (“Hate you so much right now”), he also reminisces on the couples’ happier times.

The rapper also shows scenes of vulnerability, watching home videos of their wedding and looking visibly upset while signing divorce papers.

Watch the video and tell us what do you think of Nas’ sentimental side.

Read more:
Nas’ ‘Life Is Good,’ Ice Cube’s ‘Raw Footage,’ and the burden of aging in hip-hop
Review of ‘Life is Good’
Nas and Amy Winehouse’s ‘Cherry Wine’: Hear it here!

Nas' 'Life Is Good,' Ice Cube's 'Raw Footage,' and the burden of aging in hip-hop

When Nasir “Nas” Jones was 20 years old, he released his 1994 debut album Illmatic, rightfully considered one of the finest albums in the history of rap music.

A confluence of factors contributed to its legendary status, including the fact that it came at a time when hip-hop was blasting its way onto pop radio and that, following the huge success of Dr. Dre’s L.A.-centric The Chronic in 1992, there was a general hunger for an East Coast counterpart. (New York obliged with not only Illmatic, but also the Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, and Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).)

But even without any sort of context, Nas’s contribution would still be an all-time great — an album of twisty, brooding narratives delivered with the wisdom of a man twice his age and the skill of a master lyrical craftsman. (It also doesn’t hurt that the production on Illmatic is a delightfully icy mix provided by a team of legends including DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Large Professor.)

Though that album will always (and rightfully) hold its spot in rap history, Nas has spent the subsequent 18 years learning a hard lesson in art (and especially in pop music): Sometimes you have nowhere to go but down. READ FULL STORY

Nas and Amy Winehouse's 'Cherry Wine': Hear it here!

One of the finest moments on Amy Winehouse’s posthumous compilation Lioness: Hidden Treasures was “Like Smoke,” her tag-team with rapper Nas. Now Winehouse returns the favor, as “Cherry Wine,” the pair’s collaboration from Nas’ forthcoming album Life Is Good, just made its way online.

The track was produced by Salaam Remi, who has twiddled the knobs for both stars in the past (he helmed “Made You Look” for Nas and “Tears Dry on Their Own” for Winehouse). It’s another swanky groove bomb that finds Nas tapping into an extra-spry flow he hasn’t commanded in years.

The highlight, however, is Winehouse’s contribution, which is so lovely, powerful, and mysterious that it only drives home just how much the music world lost when Winehouse passed away last year.

Give the song a listen below. The quality isn’t great, but the power of both voices comes through despite the hitches.  READ FULL STORY

Nicki Minaj rolls with Chris Brown and Nas in 'Right By My Side' video

nicki-minaj

Considering how bipolar her latest album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is, it makes sense that Nicki Minaj’s singles would slingshot between hardcore (“Stupid Hoe,” “Beez in the Trap”) and super-slick pop (“Starships”).

“Right By My Side,” her latest single and video venture, falls squarely in the latter category, and the clip itself is a pretty bland love story between Nicki and guest star Nas (who does not actually rap on the song). There’s also plenty of refreshing Pepsi and a guest spot from hook singer Chris Brown, whose comeback was recently rejected by Liz Lemon.

Check out the video below, if only to get a look at Nas’ cool glasses. READ FULL STORY

Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Ice Cube, and more announced for Rock the Bells Festival

The Rock the Bells Festival has announced its ninth annual lineup, and the show is not slouching this year.

The talents on the 2012 roster include both the young and frisky (Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole, 2 Chainz, Kendrik Lamar) and less young but still frisky (Missy Elliott, Nas, Timbaland, Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick, Bone Thugz ‘n Harmony).

For the first time, the fest will stretch over two days, though it is still partial to coasts-only tour stops:  NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California (Aug. 18-Aug. 19), Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California (Aug. 25-Aug. 26) and PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, New Jersey (Sept. 1-Sept.2).

There will also be a final double-header at Miami’s Bay Front Amphitheater on a yet-to-be-announced date in December.

More on EW.com:
Coachella producers announce 2013 dates and prices. So who would you like to see?
John Mayer talks voice issues, being an ‘idiot’ on ‘Ellen’
Our weekly Spotify playlist: Beach House, Adam Lambert, Killer Mike rub elbows

Nas brings 'Illmatic,' New York City trash cans to SXSW

In her book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), Mindy Kaling of the American Office argues that “with the [British Office] character David Brent, Ricky Gervais guaranteed that he would live in the pantheon forever, even if he did years of terrible, mediocre stuff.”

Gervais should get a beer with Nas. While he hasn’t produced anything truly terrible yet, the 38-old rapper will likely never outdo his 1994 debut, Illmatic. He’s had some good albums (and some just-okay ones) since then, but that record — one of hip-hop’s finest, period — will always define him.

As such, the classic East Coast album was on everyone’s mind at the Queensbridge rapper’s SXSW show at ACL’s Moody Theater. The stage was expertly dressed to resemble a New York street corner, complete with graffiti, a subway entrance, and an authentic-looking NYC trash can. For the many traveling New Yorkers weary on the last night of the festival, it was a little tempting to pull out a Metrocard and ride the imaginary train all the way back home.

Nas was also looking to take a trip to another time and place. Much like Jay-Z’s recent Carnegie Hall debut (which featured a Nas cameo), this NYCentric show splashed the wall with large, postcard-ready images of Big Apple icons like the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge. The decor cemented what many had hoped: Nas would be serving up llmatic, the album that helped shape the New York sound.

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